Press Release

Statement from Minister Harris on INMO Decision for industrial action in 2017

“It is regrettable that the INMO has voted in favour of industrial action as announced this evening. While I understand that our health service faces serious challenges on recruitment and retention, industrial action is not the solution. It will not reduce the numbers of patients on trolleys in Emergency Departments, will not reduce the waiting lists or improve service delivery and could lead to the cancellation of elective surgeries.

“My Department and HSE management and the INMO have had continuing engagement at the WRC on a number of matters relating to Emergency Departments over the past year. Management continue to be available to meet the INMO on an ongoing basis.

“The proposed action will not assist efforts to attract nurses to work in the public health service in Ireland. The HSE is focussed on recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives and, as announced yesterday, is running an open recruitment event from 28th to 30th December in Dr Steevens’ Hospital for nurses and midwives from all disciplines who are interested in working in the Irish Public Health Service. Attendees can apply and interview for jobs on the day and get information on Nursing and Midwifery Board (NMBI) registration and Garda vetting requirements. This will be followed by a series of careers events for nurses throughout 2017.

“In addition to the open recruitment campaign the HSE National Hospitals Division is running recruitment campaigns aimed specifically at recruiting Staff Nurses for Emergency Departments. The HSE is offering permanent posts to 2016 degree programme graduates, is offering full time permanent contracts to those in temporary posts and is also focused on converting agency staffing to permanent posts. In addition to this the HSE National Recruitment Service will continue to operate their rolling nursing recruitment campaigns.

“Following a Government decision in October incremental Credit for the 36 week clinical placement undertaken by 4th year student nurses will now be restored for all graduates from 1st January 2017, having been abolished by the then Government in December 2010.

“The Government has reiterated its support for the Lansdowne Road Agreement and the collective approach to public service pay issues. The INMO previously confirmed their commitment to the Lansdowne Road Agreement and it is expected that it will continue to do so. It should be noted that commitment to the LRA includes commitment to maintenance of industrial harmony.  Therefore the structures available within the LRA including the oversight arrangements should be fully utilised before any recourse to industrial action.

“This Government is committed to a collective approach to setting pay policy in the most orderly and affordable manner to deliver for public servants and those availing of our public services.

“Discussions with all parties who signed up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement are expected to commence next month and conclude before the end of January. These discussions will seek to address anomalies arising from the recent recommendations issued by the Labour Court in relation to the Industrial Relations disputes with members of An Garda Síochána. They will then be followed by more general discussion on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement once the Public Service Pay Commission reports.”

Ends

Notes for Editors

Finance and Numbers:
This Government has secured a total budget of €14.6 billion for the health service in 2017, the highest ever health budget. This funding will allow for the filling of a significant number of nursing, midwifery and other key service delivery posts.

The HSE has increased the nursing/midwifery workforce. The numbers of nurses employed in the HSE have increased to 35,693 compared with 34,049 in October 2013. The HSE has an additional 1,644 nurses employed and recruitment of additional nurses and midwives continue.